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Crowd, Flags, Ceremony Mark Memorial Day
0529 Flags
Escalon American Legion Post Chaplain Jay Davis, far right, stands and salutes during Mondays Memorial Day ceremony. Flags flying included the American flag, the POW-MIA flag, the Gustafson-Thompson Legion Post 263 flag and the America Legion Riders Flag. Marg Jackson/The Times

With small American flags gracing the graves of veterans buried at Burwood Cemetery on River Road, a crowd gathered Monday morning for a brief Memorial Day ceremony, recognizing the service and sacrifice of our nation’s veterans.

Hosted by the Escalon Gustafson-Thompson American Legion Post 263, there was a guest speaker, the laying of a wreath at the flagpole, a 21-gun salute and the playing of Taps. Post Chaplain Jay Davis also offered an invocation

Among those on hand for the ceremony, a trio of brothers, all veterans, believed to be the only group of brothers in the area that all served their country and now belong to an American Legion post. Escalon residents Albert and Richard Johnson, along with brother David Johnson of Oakdale, each served in the Armed Forces. Albert was in the Army and served in Korea from 1953 to 1955. Richard, Air Force, served from 1959 to 1967 and flew missions over Vietnam, while David was in the Army from 1961 to 1963. The three were in attendance at the Monday morning ceremony with their sister, Ruth Cohagan of Escalon.

A dozen members of the local Legion Post were honored posthumously, their names read as members who have passed away. Guest speaker was U.S. Naval Captain, retired, Charles Root.

“This is an important occasion, a time of remembrance,” he said, adding that he was glad to see some younger people in the crowd because they should learn early what Memorial Day is all about and who it is designed to honor.

“It’s a good morning because it’s still the land of the free, because of the brave,” Root said.

He said though it’s a “small percentage” that choose to serve in the military, the rest of the country is indebted to them for protecting our freedoms.

“They willingly laid down their lives for you and me,” he said of soldiers who have given the ultimate sacrifice. “That is why we always need to remember them.”